When asked my reason as to why I want to be a nurse, I find myself discussing more than one topic. This is because my answer has three facets: empathetic compassion for those who suffer, a fundamental desire to learn, and finally: job security. Each of these three driving reasons are in turn tied together by my dedication to the healthcare field and my unwavering drive to achieve goals. Individually, I believe that my personal empathy and compassion for those who suffer is the most central of my three reasons to being a nurse.
Since my earliest memories, I have felt magnetically drawn to people who are suffering. I recall the image of a man with terminal cancer in a dimly lit hospital room, as he lay in bed alone. I overheard the nurses telling another nurse that somebody should call his son to inform him of his father’s sudden turn for the worse. The other nurse replied that she had done so but the son wanted nothing to do with the dying man. This was said down low out of hearing range of the patient – but not me. I felt drawn to go stand by this man and let him know that he was not alone.
The look of gratitude in his eyes as he weakly whispered to me ‘thanks”, was the first compelling I had in considering a career in health care. Regardless of their age, sex, or race, I feel a strong desire to help comfort, and to the best of my ability, help heal those who are made vulnerable and weak by illness or injury. There is a type of universal truth that is revealed in human nature through suffering. Many of the social issues that plague people and society are left at the hospital door.
Those who suffer arrive in a vulnerable state, stripped of many superficial facades and stresses that are so much who they are out of the hospital. They arrive need of professionals who are compassionate as well as skilled. In the words of physician/author Ronald Dworkin, “… true caring depends on the caregiver’s possession of certain kindly feelings–feelings that no amount of schooling can evoke” (23). However, formal schooling, as well as ongoing extracurricular studies, are also central to nursing and another facet of my reason for being a nurse.
Genuine compassion alone, without skill and knowledge, is not enough to make an effective nurse. So it has been, that “… since the era of Florence Nightingale, nursing has stood on two pillars – virtue and good science” (Dworkin 23). Up to recent times, times nurses acting as physician’s attendants, or in settings where they acted on their own accord, required knowledge of plants, roots, herbs, human anatomy, and a founded working knowledge of human nature. Modern nurses need to know much of the same knowledge as their predecessors and so much more.
To help facilitate this, the nursing curriculum demands that students dedicate themselves to nothing short of excellence in their academic and hands-on training. This suits me fine, as it is in my nature to study, seek knowledge, and express it in practice and writing. Finally, I see nursing as a profession in constant demand. With the demographic changes in society finding an aging population, the degree of job security that nursing offers will be growing. It happens that currently thirty-three percent of registered nurses are over the age of 50 (Dworkin 23).
This figure is predicted to rise to 40 percent in the next ten years (Dworkin 23). Job security as a nurse is important to me not only for financial reasons – it also ties in with my other two previously mentioned reasons for being a nurse. These three reasons as to why I want to be a nurse compliment each other in positive ways. Learning is both expressed and enhanced through the vehicle of work. Learning and work in nursing are together enhanced when expressed with compassion.
Works Cited: Dworkin, R. “Where Have All the Nurses Gone? ” Public Interest Summer 2002: 23.